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JackB_Nymble 09-04-2009 12:31 PM

Restoring a hot switched outlet...
As a Life Member (in good-standing) of the Murphy's Society (everything that can go wrong... will go wrong); I come to this august forum with a humble request for help. Here's the situation...

I'm installing a ceiling fan (w/lite kit) in a room that has no ceiling fixtures. I have one hot outlet (powers my strip and computer-stuff) that I've left alone, and a switched outlet that I've opened-up. After disconnecting/disassembling the outlet, I've discovered this outlet apparently powers yet another switched outlet in an adjacent room. Now that I've torn the outlet apart, I think it's probably wiser to tie the ceiling fan in at the switch, rather than the outlet. This formerly switched (now disassembled) outlet has 3-sets of wires coming into it. Two-sets on top, one on the bottom. The top left set is the hot set, apparently from the breaker. I'm guessing the remaining 2 are the switch and a connection to the outlet in the adjacent room.

My question(s); how to put this mess back together so that: 1) when I tie the ceiling fan in at the switch, it works. 2) the formerly switched outlet is no longer switched (all the time HOT), and finally; 3) return power to the outlet in the adjacent room?

Is power going through the outlet directional; hot/source in through the bottom screws, back out through the top screws and slots.. which would explain why there were no pigtails present when I disassembled the outlet.

Thanks so much,
Jack (feeling rather dense)

kok328 09-04-2009 01:11 PM

This doesn't even sound right. An Electrican would not wire and outlet to a switch that isn't in that room.
Is this a split outlet where the top or bottom is constantly powered and the other half is switched power?
If power is going thru the outlet and not the swicth then it would stand to reason that the outlet is constantly powered.

JackB_Nymble 09-04-2009 01:39 PM

Thanks for your quick reply. I've been in the house now for about 4 years. The previous owner was a weekend-warrior who, I've discovered did a rather half-assed job at other home improvement projects... I'm discovering. As to the switched outlet in the adjacent room... it is in fact dead; deceased only after I disassembled the switched outlet in my office.


kok328 09-04-2009 04:16 PM

Maybe he split the room in two or just didn't care about how it was wired up.
I'm not doubting about the other outlet.
However, we still need to investigate the wiring and make corrections and/or devise a plan to meet your needs.
You'll need to take a voltmeter and determine which wires are hot and which ones go to the other outlet and which ones go to the wall switch. In addition, we still need to know if these are split outlets.
I really can't help until I know more. I'm not comfortable with "apparently" and "guessing".

JackB_Nymble 09-04-2009 06:12 PM

I appreciate your discomfort with ambiguity, especially with electricity. Lack of caring, I think, was the previous owner's M.O. To your questions; was the outlet split; yes it was, tabs popped-off and all. Of the three romex wiring cables going into the outlet box, I've determined (with my little tester) which of the leads is hot. I'll find-out tomorrow which of the remaining cables goes to the switch and I'll test the last cable to make certain it awakens the (now dead) adjacent outlet.

Thanks again. I very much appreciate your interest and effort.


edlank 09-04-2009 06:40 PM

Getting everything working again is a good goal. I am guessing the outlet in the other room is unswitched, and you have a switch loop for one of the outlets of the duplex outlet. To think you can add yet another Romex to the box to go to the ceiling sounds optimistic. It is probably going to be way too crowded. There are code rules on how many wires can enter the box, and you can look that up in a code guide. Start thinking about tapping another outlet (maybe from the other room) or pulling new wire from the breaker box.

JoeD 09-08-2009 05:48 PM

To wire this for the switch to be the connection point for your fan connect all the black together and to the gold screw. Connect all the white together and to the silver screw.
Disconnect the wires from the switch.
Run a 14/3 wire from the switch to the fan.
At the switch
Connect the two whites and push to back of box.
Connect the two blacks to each other and to the switch.
Connect the red to the switch.

A the fan
Connect the whites.
Connect the black to the black from fan
Connect the red to blue from fan.

The fan will operate from pull chains. The black wire is always hot.
The red wire is controlled by the switch and will turn the light on off.

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